The cannabis market has exploded in the last few years. Extracts and vape pens have been around for a while but the volume and variety we see today is unlike anything we’ve ever experienced. Where before, vape pens were only for distillate, we’re seeing live resin carts, and concentrates so pure they’re clear. With so many choices for consumers, it's hard to figure out what you like without blowing a bag on all the different concentrates, rigs, pens and carts lining the shelves in cannabis shops. We don’t want you to waste your hard earned cash, and more importantly, we want you to find the right experience you’re looking for. Keep reading for a deep dive into concentrates vs vapes to find out which might be right for you.
What Are Extracts
Before we can start a conversation about vapes and concentrates, we need to first talk about extracts. Extracts and concentrates are different words for the same thing: THC that has been separated from cannabis plants to create a new substance containing THC and other compounds from the plant. These substances, which vary depending on the method of extraction used to create them, are what are used in vape pens and are consumed via a special rig that functions similar to a bong. When people refer to concentrates, they're referring to extracts that need a rig to be consumed. Vapes are self contained systems that allow you to consume extracts in a more portable and discreet way.
What Are Vapes
Vapes or vape pens are the common terms for an electronic device that uses heat to allow you to inhale a liquid form of extracted THC called distillate. These devices are either reusable or disposable; reusable vapes are made up of two main components: the battery and the cart. A cart is short for cartridge and holds the distillate you’ll be inhaling. The cart attaches to the battery and functions like a joint or blunt, where you suck on one end of the device to draw out smoke, except in the case of vapes, it’s vapor and not smoke. When vapes were first developed, distillate was the only extract that could be used in a vape pen or cart. These days though, the technology has advanced and you can find vapes that take virtually any type of extract from live resin, to diamonds to rosin to sauce. This simple change has made many concentrates that previously needed a larger dab rig set up to use, accessible and portable for people who previously would have been limited to distillate vapes.
What Are Concentrates
Concentrates refer to specific types of extracts that require a glass piece to be consumed. There are many different types of concentrates on the market, from super pure THC diamonds to live resins that preserve the whole plant profile. Because concentrates contain concentrated THC, they get you much higher than smoking weed. A very small amount of concentrate can give you a monster high, where you’d need to smoke a lot of weed to achieve the same effect.
What Is A Dab Rig
Now that we know what concentrates are, we can talk about the other item you’ll need to use your concentrates: a dab rig. Rigs are similar to bongs, except instead of a bowl for flower there is a nail, a small glass bowl that holds your concentrates. Using a torch - or an e-nail if you’re fancy - dabbers apply heat to the concentrates through the glass. The heat allows the concentrates to vaporize and the vapor collects in the rig like smoke in a bong. You inhale through the mouthpiece and typically get a seriously heavy hit. Rigs are notorious for being one hitter quitters, meaning you usually get enough in just one hit. Be careful if you’re new to concentrates; rigs and dabbing can be hard on your respiratory system, so don’t try to be a hero and clear the rig on your first dab. You will regret it, and maybe not want to try dabbing again, which would be really unfortunate.
Pros and Cons Of Vaping
Vaping is a great choice for many cannabis users. Vape pens are discreet, affordable and nowadays, you have access to all the other types of concentrates typically reserved for dabbers. Vaping is more directly comparable to smoking flower than dabbing, so the high is a little easier to control and maintain.
But dabbing does have some drawbacks; concentrates are expensive, sometimes they’re the most expensive items on the shelves, which can give a lot of people sticker shock. They also require a bit of an investment to get started, with the purchase of a rig, torch or e-nail and a small stash of concentrates easily costing a couple hundred dollars. Also, dabbing is harder on your lungs, even than smoking, because of the high concentration of THC, despite the fact that dabbing is cleaner. Many dabbers have serious smokers' coughs and if you have respiratory issues, dabbing might be a little too intense for you to do regularly.
Go For Vapes If…
If you’re looking for a discreet, portable, controllable high, that isn’t going to break the bank to get started, then you should definitely consider getting a vape pen. Vapes are much more appealing now that the technology allows vapers to be able to vape concentrates like diamonds and live resin that would previously not be available to them. This is a good option for beginners and more experienced cannaseurs, and really something all stoners should keep on deck for those inevitable situations where you need to smoke but can’t.
Go For Concentrates If…
If you’re a more advanced stoner with a high tolerance, a love for heavy hitting strains and a little money in the bank, then concentrates are your best option. Concentrates are expensive but they go on sale often so keep your eyes peeled for the best deals if your ballin on a budget.